Characteristics of Shame-Based Adults in Their Relationships — taken from Jane Middleton-Moz
The following characteristics of shame are taken from Jane Middelton-Moz. Shame & Guilt: Masters of Disguise (Kindle Locations 50-51) [*Affiliate link]. As we have written in other posts, shame is something that we all have to struggle with, especially if we have been abused. To ignore shame is to sentence ourselves to continuing relational disasters. Notice particularly #3. Mind-reading. People who are in bondage to shame torpedo even healthy relationships because their shame attributes shaming motives to others. See how much of yourself you might find in this list:
Characteristics Of Shame-Based Adults In Relationships:
1) We lose ourselves in love.
2) When we argue, we fight for our lives.
3) We expend a great deal of energy in mind-reading. We frequently talk to ourselves about what our partners are feeling and needing more than to our partners.
4) We pay a high price for those few good times.
5) We often sign two contracts upon commitment, one conscious and another which is unconscious.
6) We blame and are blamed.
Middleton-Moz also gives a long list of characteristics of adults who were shamed in their childhood (i.e., all of us to a lesser or greater extent!). I only include the first few from her list and highly recommend her book to you:
Characteristics of Adults Shamed in Childhood:
1) Adults shamed as children are afraid of vulnerability and fear exposure of self.
2) Adults shamed as children may suffer extreme shyness, embarrassment and feelings of being inferior to others. They don’t believe they make mistakes. Instead they believe they are mistakes.
3) Adults shamed as children fear intimacy and tend to avoid real commitment in relationships. These adults frequently express the feeling that one foot is out of the door, prepared to run.
4) Adults shamed as children may appear either grandiose and self-centered or seem selfless.
5) Adults shamed as children feel that, “No matter what I do, it won’t make a difference; I am and always will be worthless and unlovable.”
6) Adults shamed as children frequently feel defensive when even minor negative feedback is given. They suffer feelings of severe humiliation if forced to look at mistakes or imperfections.
7) Adults shamed as children frequently blame others before they can be blamed.
8) Adults shamed as children may suffer from debilitating guilt. These individuals apologize constantly. They assume responsibility for the behavior of those around them.
9) Adults shamed as children feel like outsiders. They feel a pervasive sense of loneliness throughout their lives, even when surrounded with those who love and care.
10) Adults shamed as children project their beliefs about themselves onto others. They engage in mind-reading that is not in their favor, consistently feeling judged by others.
Remember, shame is not just going to vaporize from our minds. We have to battle it by coming to understand it, see it, and replacing its thought patterns with Christ’s truth. It is, after all, Christ’s opinion of us that is the truth.